Flugplatz Drispenstedt, Hildesheim, Germany
11th to 12th August 2007
M’era Luna Festival Day 2 - Main Stage: Big Boy, Warren Suicide, Krypteria, Lacrimas Profundere, The Crüxshadows, The 69 Eyes, Skinny Puppy, Deine Lakaien, The Jesus and Mary Chain
Second day of the festival started with brilliant weather - blue sky, sun and appropriate temperatures. About 20,000 people gathered at the venue to see great names performing on stage. On the main stage, you had a good combination of promising newcomers like BIG BOY, festival old hand like THE CRÜXSHADOWS or THE 69 EYES as well as old heroes like SKINNY PUPPY, THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN or DEINE LAKAIEN.
Big Boy - Main Stage (Carsten Leopold)
BIG BOY was born 1977 in Sweden, spent the most part of his childhood in Germany and then underwent a strange way - among others he spent two years in the French Foreign Legion - and finally he had found his destiny in music business and formed his band BIG BOY. The other musicians in the band are "AK" (bass), "The Lord" (guitar) and "Happy" (drums). http://www.hailthebigboy.com/ / www.myspace.com/hailthebigboy
Music & Performance
Sunday noon, the sun was shining and while the first visitors entered the festival area, BIG BOY opened the main stage. The "bad boys" of BIG BOY ran their usually glamour rock show. The new guitar player "The Lord" was already integrated well into the live performance and the fans enjoyed the imposing show. The setlist contained among other songs ‘Gestasi Baby’, ‘Fake It’, ‘One Good Reason’ and the band hymn ‘Hail the Big Boy’.
01. Gestasi Baby
02. Get over It
03. Fake It
05. One Good Reason
06. Hail the Big Boy
Warren Suicide - Main Stage (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)
The mysterious WARREN SUICIDE is not a real person but rather a fictional character invented by Cherie and Nackt, who invented this character and founded the band of the same name (which is btw completed by drummer Bertill). The Berlin-based trio WARREN SUICIDE is sonically a marriage of Electronica and Indie Rock tunes plus a strong avant-garde touch, both musically and visually. Cherie is responsible for all visuals, including the many drawings of Mr. Warren Suicide which adorns the band’s record sleeves, merchandise and their homepage. http://www.warrensuicide.com/ / www.myspace.com/warrensuicide
Music & Performance
WARREN SUICIDE’s fascination with the dark side of life, splatter imagery and weird sounds is quite compatible with the Goth scene, and after tours with bands like FIXMER/MCCARTHY it’s no big surprise that WARREN SUICIDE were invited to perform at the M’era Luna. And they surely delivered a fresh breeze to the standard Goth and EBM sounds at a festival like the M’era Luna. After a short intro (which included a sampled female voice screaming in pain and agony - no too funny actually!) the infamous line “Hello! Hello! This is Warren Suicide!” resounded. Like every show of this band, the show at the M’era Luna started with the title track of the band, ‘Warren Suicide’. The band’s punkified Electro with eerie Pop hooks managed display all its charm despite the early time of day and the bright sunlight - mainly thanks to the fact that the stage decoration featured many elements from WARREN SUICIDE’s animated cartoon world, including many gimmicks like a stuffed animal in WARREN SUICIDE-style.
Cherie’s beautiful, immaculate voice was a nice counterpart to Nackt’s more aggressive male vocals, and besides well-known tracks like ‘Butcher Boy’ or ‘Song for Warren’s Lover’ the band also performed two brand-new and yet unreleased tracks, ‘Land Of The Free’ and ‘What Do You Feel?’, a track that was written only one week before the M’era Luna and which was included in the short 7-song set spontaneously. While WARREN SUICIDE already have quite some success and a high reputation in the UK and the US it is to be hoped that they will soon climb to the top in their home country Germany too! A very weird but highly entertaining gig!
01. Warren Suicide
03. Butcher Boy
04. Land of the Free (unreleased)
05. What do you feel? (unreleased)
06. A song for Warren’s Lover
07. The Woman just stood there
Krypteria - Main Stage (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)
Chris Siemons (guitar), Frank Stumvoll (bass), S.C. Kuschnerus (drums) and Korean-born singer Ji-In Cho are KRYPTERIA, a German “Fantasy Metal” act who already released three albums. With their latest release ‘Bloodangel’s Cry’ there was quite some hype around KRYPTERIA, and especially German Goth and Metal magazines featured the band with some cover stories.
Although one might wonder what the polished, symphonic Metal-Pop has to do with Goth or Dark Wave (although it’s not the first time that magazines like Zillo try to sell Pop bands with a Red Riding Hood image as “Goth”). http://www.krypteria.de/ / www.myspace.com/krypteria
Music & Performance
The roots of KRYPTERIA are quite reputable (the idea behind the band’s foundation was to produce a Fantasy musical) and singer Ji-In Cho does have a beautiful voice but this cheesy, glamorous Metal meeting “Lord Of The Rings” fantasies is neither to my personal taste nor do I feel that it is appropriate for a festival which once made “underground” its motto. To be honest, after three songs it started to be annoying to me.
01. Sweet Revenge
02. Time to bring the pain
03. Out of tears
05. Somebody save me
06. I can't breathe
Lacrimas Profundere - Main Stage (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)
LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE, founded in 1993 by guitarist Oliver Schmid, were in their early days influenced by Doom Metal and classical elements. After many line-up changes and seven studio albums the band developed more into a Gothic Rock direction, without neglecting their Metal roots but with less classical elements, and the music kept cantered around the vocals, which for a long time were dominated by Christopher Schmid’s baritone voice. http://www.lacrimas.com/ / www.myspace.com/lacrimasprofundere
Music & Performance
Christopher Schmid, brother of founding member Oliver Schmid, left the band and LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE have tried several lead vocalists since then. At the M’era Luna Rob Vitacca (ex-LOST) took over the duty of doing the lead vocals. The turmoil regarding the band’s line-up rubbed off a bit and so the performance was solid but the stage presence still seemed to be a little insecure.
The entertainment factor suffered a little from this, nevertheless the band members surely mastered their instruments perfectly and the new vocalist Vitacca delivered also a very impressive vocal performance. With more gigs behind them I’m sure that the new line-up of LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE will be a bit more interacting with the crowd instead of concentrating merely on their “work”.
01. My velvet little Darkness
02. To love her on Knees
04. Amber Girl
05. Sweet Caroline
06. My Mescaline
07. For bad Times
08. Again it’s over
09. Sarah Lou
10. Ave End
Diorama Signing Session (Daniela Vorndran)
In-between all those bands of the main stage, there were several signing sessions on the Sonic Seducer stand. One of the bands being available for autographs were DIORAMA who were in very good mood when signing people’s items - or arms of some crazy lemming for that matter. ;)
The Crüxshadows - Main Stage (Carsten Leopold)
THE CRÜXSHADOWS started in the early 1990's in a little town in North Florida. Over the years, their success among the Gothic, EBM, New Wave, & Dark Electronic genres has earned them a nearly legendary underground status and they were developed to a synonym for a new kind of Electro Wave. The charismatic singer, the impressive live performance and the beautiful female dancers made the awareness higher and higher every year and with every tour. The current album is called 'Dreamcypher' and was released in January this year. 'Sophia' - the first single out off 'Dreamcypher' - counted high at the billboard charts and was the biggest success in the band history so far.
To my sorrow my favourite band member Rachel McDonnel - the bewitching violin player - will leave the band after this tour. This show at M'era Luna Festival was her last show in Germany and the last chance for her European fans to enjoy her live performance on stage. Current band members are: Rogue (vocals, song writing, programming, lyrics, keyboards, some violin, front man), Rachel McDonnell (violin and some keyboards), George Bikos (guitar) & Pyromantic (AKA Jen Jawidzik - keyboard). Current dancers are Jessica Lackey (singer/dancer) & Sarah Poulos (singer/dancer). http://www.cruxshadows.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/cruxshadows
Music & Performance:
THE CRÜXSHADOWS entered the stage in the usual line-up, George and Jen in the background of the stage, the both beautiful female dancers with pink/black outfits in the front, Rachel with a red dress in the centre and Rogue as usual entered the stage from the crowd during the intro. The set consisted of hits only, starting with ‘Sophia’, the successful first single release of the current album, followed by other well-know songs like ‘Foreverlast’, ‘Deception’ or ‘Winterborn’. After the upcoming single ‘Birthday’, which will be released in September this year, the show finished with ‘Marilyn, my Bitterness’.
As usually, Rogue was very vivid on stage and used the large stage to climb up the constructions again and in spite of the big trench between stage and crowd he went out through the crowd as always at his concerts. The diversified wowing show, bursting with energy like ever, satisfied old and new fans likewise. Once again the crowd was very impressed by the red-hot dance performance, the bewitching sounds and the charismatic lead singer. Quickly the whole crowd was infected and was jumping, dancing and singing along. During ‘Sophia’, Rogue got a black rose from a fan in the first row. The solo parts of Rachel and her violin were rewarded with resounding applause. Unfortunately the sound was not the best, a little over modulated and there were some dropouts of the radio transmission of Rogue's microphone and Rachel's violin. Anyway, a great performance and a satisfying show once again.
09. Marilyn, My Bitterness
The 69 Eyes - Main Stage (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)
The Finnish Gothic Glam Metal band THE 69 EYES are already well-known guests on Goth festivals like the M’era Luna. They appeared at the festival for the first time in 2000 and have become regulars in the M’era Luna running order since then. With hits like ‘Gothic Girl’ (actually a top 10 single in Finland!) and ‘Dance D’Amour’ in their back catalogue, THE 69 EYES are surely one of the most popular Gothic Rock bands. http://www.69eyes.com/ / www.myspace.com/theofficial69eyes
Music & Performance
The “Helsinki Vampires”, as they like to call themselves, were all clad in heavy black leather and lined up at the front of the stage - well, apart from drummer Jussi69 apparently - and posed for their version of a Gothic Rock ’n’ Roll show. As usual, THE 69 EYES started with the ‘Lost Boys’ intro and the hard-rocking single hit ‘Devils’. During the show I noticed that there are a bit too many “as usual”s this time, because when you have seen them a couple of times they hardly offer something new, even though they included, quite naturally, a few songs from their last album ‘Angels’ (released in March 2007).
Maybe front man Jyrki69 and his men try to become the Status Quo of Gothic Glam Rock? ;-) Anyway, they know how to write a hymnal Rock song with a dark touch, and Jyrki does have a charismatic voice which is just perfect for those devilish anthems. Musically not challenging enough for my taste but it got the crowd going.
03. Never Say Die
04. Dance D’Amour
05. Feel Berlin
06. The Chair
07. Wings and Hearts
08. Sister of Charity
09. Brandon Lee
10. Perfect Skin
11. Lost Boys
Skinny Puppy - Main Stage (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)
In 2005 the Canadian music legend SKINNY PUPPY headlined the Saturday night at the M’era Luna, in 2007 they were only granted a 45 minute slot in the late Sunday afternoon! Heresy! Well, at least unfortunate. SKINNY PUPPY, founded in the early 1980s in Vancouver, is one of the most influential bands in the scene, and their Industrial sound and their conceptual work influenced a plethora of subsequent bands. SKINNY PUPPY’s early albums like ‘Remission’, ‘Bites’ or ‘Mind: TPI’ were groundbreaking for their times and comprised popular classics like ‘Smothered Hope’, ‘Assimilate’ or ‘Addiction’ which were standards at your local Goth club for years and years. But SKINNY PUPPY never stood still and were in search of new sounds and aimed at an even more complex and less accessible sound in the late 1980s and early 1990s, always eager to explore new musical grounds.
The outstanding production skills of the band made albums like ‘VIVIsect VI’ (1988), ‘Too Dark Park’ (1990) or ‘Last Rights’ (1992) unrivalled to this day, and the music still sounds as fresh as on the day of its release. During the recording of ‘The Process’ the band broke up, vocalist Nivek Ogre quit and the tragic death of long-time member Dwayne R. Goettel seemed to make any renewal of SKINNY PUPPY’s activity impossible, especially as Ogre and Key were quite at odds which other and preferred to indulge in new projects. The year 2000 saw a much unexpected SKINNY PUPPY reunion show at a festival in Dresden performed by Key and Ogre as a duo, and in 2004 SKINNY PUPPY even returned with a new studio album called ‘The Greater Wrong of the Right’. Instead of dwelling in the past the band moved forward, toured North America and Europe and returned to the studio to record ‘Mythmaker’, which hit the shops in January 2007. The musical legend SKINNY PUPPY is back, and it showed that the alternative music scene was in desperate need of such a groundbreaking and ever-moving act like SKINNY PUPPY. http://www.skinnypuppy.com/ / http://www.skinny-puppy.net/ / www.myspace.com/skinnypuppy
Music & Performance
It surely would have been a much better idea to let SKINNY PUPPY headline the night at the second stage at the Hangar so that they could perform a longer set and not in bright sunlight - but then I have to admit that seeing Nivek Ogre, Cevin Key and their current drummer Justin Bennett in bright sunlight was quite a change and very interesting - especially as I saw a club show of the Canadian outlet a few days before in Utrecht. The plus of seeing SKINNY PUPPY in daylight is that it allows your eye to follow all the moves of Nivek Ogre, who is truly rather an actor than just a vocalist, and his stage personality is immense and he perfectly embodies the songs. At a club show most of his actions are too much hidden by the shadow play of the light show, although it has to be said that clubs shows feel more intimate and more intense and thus they have a big plus too.
As it was to be expected, SKINNY PUPPY played a shortened version of their “Mythrus” tour, which lead them to Europe in support of their 2007 album ‘Mythmaker’ only for a couple of dates. A few short intro sounds, and Ogre jumped onto stage to the sounds of ‘Ugli’ (from ‘Mythmaker’; and usually the second song of the show). Usually Ogre begins the show hidden behind some sort of “screen cage” but although this cage was there at the left side of the stage it wouldn’t have made sense to start a daylight show this way - especially as SKINNY PUPPY had to abandon their fantastic video show which they used at the club shows. Ogre made up for it by acting more straight in your face, swaying a rosary with a wooden cross he chanted “Jesus wants to be ugly”, and the full sunlight unveiled his costume, his strange make-up, and Ogre storming the stage to cough up some artificial blood was surely a little shock for some casual fans. ;-)
After ‘Ugli’ an extra-long “brap” (as the band call their jammed live interludes) followed to finally lead into ‘Dogshit’ (from 1988’s ‘VIVIsect VI’). SKINNY PUPPY continued with ‘Tormentor’, a single from 1990, and with ‘Politikil’ they returned to the new album ‘Mythmaker’. Cevin Key is a true keyboard wizard and moved back and forth behind his wall of gear like a madman to play as many parts live as possible, instead of relying too much on pre-recorded stuff. He had two laptops next to him to control all the synths and sequencers (which included a Roland V-Synth and an Access Virus Ti), a guitar amp for extra-boost and a few electronic drum pads as well. Drummer Justin Bennett used a rather traditional drum kit with a few electronic pads added to it. With a setup like this, SKINNY PUPPY were able to play a lot of the complex music live so that every show is sonically different in the details, although all the guitar sounds had to be sampled and sequenced as the band did not feature a guitarist, unlike the last tour.
SKINNY PUPPY could have done the easy way and adapt a more festival-friendly set but they were never in favour of the easy way anyway. ‘Worlock’ and ‘Dig It’ were the only popular classics in the set, and those who had hoped for smashers like ‘Smothered Hope’, ‘Testure’ or even ‘Assimilate’ (which they never perform live anyway) might have been a little disappointed. But SKINNY PUPPY is not about playing hits so they stuck to the concept of their “Mythrus” show and performed a mix of ‘difficult’ old album tracks like ‘Rodent’ (from the album ‘Rabies’, 1989) or ‘Amnesia’ (from 1996’s ‘The Process’) and ‘Mythmaker’-songs like ‘Pedafly’ or the atmospheric ‘Haze’, which finished the set. Despite the limited running time and the reduced show it was a stellar performance, and due to the restrictions a rather untypical SKINNY PUPPY show. All the gothic fashion victims who tend to think BLUTENGEL would be a great electronic band should be disabused by this outstanding gig by SKINNY PUPPY but maybe they preferred to have a kebab in the back of the area instead of witnessing something of musical and conceptual substance. Still a good crowd swarmed in front of the stage, and although the audience wasn’t too responsive Ogre got so carried away at the end of his performance that he almost fell off the stage during ‘Haze’.
09. Dig It
11. Hardset Head
Deine Lakaien - Main Stage (Sebastian Huhn)
DEINE LAKAIEN consisting of Ernst Horn (composition, arrangements) and Alexander Veljanov (lyrics, vocals) bless us with their compositions between electronic and classic avant-garde beyond all borders for over 20 years now. It all started out with a newspaper ad from Ernst Horn in a city magazine that pretty much sounded like this: “Looking for open-minded singer”. Alexander Veljanov reacted on the ad and met Ernst. During this encounter they found out that they shared a common spirit and musical preferences. The rest is history.... http://www.deine-lakaien.com/ / www.myspace.com/deinelakaien
Music & Performance
The Music of DEINE LAKAIEN has always been a specialty. It goes far beyond any borders and is a real exception of the rule. It combines electronic with classical and experimental parts and is always an experience. During the M’era Luna show, they played different songs from several albums. Newer ones like ‘Over and done’ as well as classics like the beautiful ‘Love me to the End’ - all carefully re-arranged and adapted by Ernst Horn. The “problem” with this concert was to some extend the sound which was far too low and sometimes drowned in the “noise” that was coming from the Hangar. The other thing is that an open-air stage is not the right place for an orchestra as it was set up for this special DEINE LAKAIEN show at M’era Luna where the band played together with the Frankfurt philharmonic orchestra. Especially the calmer tunes got lost and so it was no wonder that Alexander moaned about “the noise” coming from the second stage.
There was not much space for movement on the stage due to the fact that the orchestra, the piano and synths took most of the place but Alexander Veljanov made the best out of it. He stepped up and down in his red-shimmering suit while singing with his beautiful dark and emotional voice. Ernst Horn was always busy. Either he was controlling the synths or playing the piano or directing the orchestra with ease. One time Mr. Veljanov nearly missed his inset and hat to hurry to get to the microphone in time. During ‘Overpaid’ he suddenly started to sing extremely high what sounded a little bit strange but quite funny but I think the audience was a little bit irritated at first. When Alexander announced that the last song would be ‘Love me to the End’, the whole crowd got really excited.
The band left the stage under a big applause and ended a concert that was - despite the above mentioned problems - a really great one. It was something more for the ears than for the legs - a great musical experience that anyhow would fit better to a concert hall than to an open-air stage.
01. Over and done
02. Into my arms
05. The Mirror Men
08. Dark Star
10. Follow me
11. Love me to the end
The Jesus and Mary Chain - Main Stage (J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch)
It was quite a surprise to see Scottish alternative rock band THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN in the line-up of this year’s M’era Luna. A surprise for many reasons - after splitting up in 1999, the brothers Jim and William Reid reformed their musical incarnation THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN this year to perform at the famous Coachella festival in California, and some gigs in North America and Europe following the reunion gig. The only German gig was at the M’era Luna, and THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN even got the headlining spot on Sunday night. Hailing from East Kilbride in Scotland, THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN released a constant string of albums, singles and EPs from their formation in 1984 until their break-up. Their albums ‘Psychocandy’ (1985), ‘Darklands’ (1987) and ‘Automatic’ (1989) were defining moments of British Indie music. But it was THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN’s live shows which made them legendary. http://aprilskies.amniisia.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/jesusandmarychainband
The notorious squabblers Jim and William Reid have been infamous for their short gigs which sometimes only lasted 10 minutes and ended with a riot. Largely ignoring their audience and often starting arguments on stage, the difficult relationship between the two brothers lead to lesser releases in the 1990s and finally to the disbanding of THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN in 1999. If the Reids have managed to get along better as they’ve aged, or if their bank clerk hinted that a THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN reunion might improve their bank accounts - it is left to speculation what the reasons for the reformation are. However, latest rumours say that the Reids even decided to record new material for forthcoming album.
A 70-minute running time seems to quite apt for a headliner but a pretty long set for THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN, who in the past managed to do a 45-minute set on a good day (that is, a gig without riots or the Reids shouting at each other on stage ;-) ). But being 40-somethings things seem to be calmer these days, and although they ignored their audience most of the time, THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN played a full set filled with classics, some stuff from their 1990s release and even a new track.(if I remember correctly, that is). The Reid brothers and their current live band Loz Colbert, Mark Crozer and Phil King performed well, and those who might have secretly hoped for some sort of riot or scandal or at least a feedback orgy like in the good old times ‘only’ got a solid gig which featured classic tunes like ‘Just Like Honey’, ‘Happy When it Rains’ or ‘Head On’.
Talking about audience - quite obviously it was not the perfect decision to let THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN headline the Sunday night as the space in front of the stage was pretty empty. Many old die-hard fans, quite well in their thirties, some casual bystanders but all in all THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN played to a similar amount of people like the bands performing around noon. The band obviously couldn’t care less, and the fans were pleased to see their old heroes on stage again.
01. You trip me up
02. Head on
03. Far gone and out
06. new song
07. Happy when it rains
08. Some candy talking
09. Between planets
10. Blues from a gun
11. Crackin up
12. All things must past
13. Teenage lust
14. Just like honey
At 22:00, also the M’era Luna 2007 was history. All in all, the festival was with nearly 20,000 attendees a bit less visited than the year before, but anyway really good again. With a good variety of bands and perfect weather, this well-organised festival made the weekend again an event to remember for most visitors. All bands did a very good job at the weekend; there was no band that totally failed. My personnel highlights for that matter were COVENANT, DIORAMA, IAMX, SKINNY PUPPY, WARREN SUICIDE and some more. ;) See you next year!
Written by Carsten Leopold, J. “Niggels” Uhlenbruch, Karolina Moszkowicz, Sebastian Huhn and Daniela Vorndran
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com/ / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography)